One of my most senior customers started texting this week, which confirms that we have reached the digital age. All jokes aside, it is a digital world. The cell phones we all carry have more capacity than the computers aboard Apollo 13 did when it landed on the moon. One benefit of the digital world is being more connected to our family and friends, as well as to our customers — and not just to customers of CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements, but to the ultimate customer: the beef consumer. Digital tools give us an opportunity to make some things easier and showcase to the beef consumer how CRYSTALYX Brand Supplements are used on working farms and ranches. In this blog, I will discuss some of the digital tools that CRYSTALYX has to offer.
CRYSTALYX is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. These platforms feature a variety of product information posts, customers’ shared posts and the occasional lighthearted holiday post. Recently, we began offering a program to our dealers through which they can more easily share CRYSTALYX content to their own Facebook pages. This has broadened our reach significantly. We are blessed to have ranch and farm customers who often share posts about how and why they use CRYSTALYX products.
Block Talk Podcast
Podcasts are another way to stay connected, and they continue to grow in popularity. CRYSTALYX offers the Block Talk Podcast, which features similar topics to the blogs and offers the convenience of being able to listen at the time that best fits your needs, such as while driving or even in the tractor seat. There are several ways to access the Block Talk Podcast. Episodes are available to listen to on the CRYSTALYX website under the Podcasts tab. They are also available on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher; just search for CRYSTALYX Block Talk on either platform.
Digital Tools for Cattle Producers
LICS (Livestock Intake Calculator for Supplements) App
The LICS app is a free download that can be used to quickly determine your animals’ daily intake of a supplement. That’s right — you do not need to wait until the barrels are empty! There is a step in the process on the app where you can enter the percentage of supplement remaining for each container. Another feature allows you to take what calves are eating into consideration. Calves will not consume as much as mature cows, but as we get closer to weaning, they will be hitting the barrels. Outlined below are the steps for using the LICS app, as well as a few screen shots showing how easy it is to use.
- Select “Cow-Calf” or “Express”. (Express does not account for consumption by calves.)
- Enter your total number of cows and bulls.
- Enter your average cow weight.
- Press enter to calculate your total calves and weights.
- Enter the start and end dates by clicking “Next” and “Done”.
- Enter your total pounds of supplement or individual containers.
- If you are using containers, enter the number of containers.
- Enter the size of the containers.
- Enter the percentage remaining in each container.
- Intake per head per day will be calculated.
- There is also an option to calculate cost per head per day by entering the cost per ton of supplement.
The LICS app is a quick and easy way to check if your animals’ intake of CRYSTALYX supplements is on target. The features that allow you to account for calves and use partially consumed barrels are an added convenience. This app can be used on other supplement types as well.
CRYSTALYX Beef Cow Body Condition Score App
The CRYSTALYX BCS app is a great management tool. Sometimes, we see our own cattle too often to notice any changes in their body condition. The desired BCS entering the calving season is a 5 or 6. Thinner cows will have lower pregnancy rates, and fatter cows could have more calving issues and often have lower milk production; additionally, extra weight is not the best use of the available feedstuffs. Having the desired BCS at calving time is a process that starts months earlier. We want cattle to be in good condition going into the winter months so that we can simply maintain that condition. Depending on the weather and the quality of the forage, we must monitor BCS throughout the year. Drought is a real concern in many areas of the country; this is true for both fall and spring calving herds. If we see a problem, we have time to change the supplement plan and overall plane of nutrition.
The CRYSTALYX BCS app has both written and pictorial descriptions of each body condition score, from 1 to 9. This is a great tool to teach producers how to score their animals. The pictures can even be customized with your own cattle pictures.
Using the CRYSTALYX BCS app:
- Take a picture of your cow.
- Assign a cow ID number and pasture location, if desired.
- Toggle between the reference photos to assign a BCS.
- Save the BSC record and picture.
- Records can be viewed for individual animals or for a pasture average.
- Records can be exported as a spreadsheet, if desired.
Coming Soon: CRYSTALYX Supplement Guide App
Soon, we will be able to share a digital tool that will help you choose the CRYSTALYX Supplement option that best fits your operation. Think of this as a digital version of the old-fashioned paper copy of the CRYSTALYX Brand Supplement Guide.
It is a digital world! The only constant is change, and all we can do is choose how we adjust to that change. Paper will always be around; some folks may never get a smart phone or a social media profile. However, most customers and consumers have gone digital. At CRYSTALYX Brand Supplements, our commitment is to providing you with leading-edge nutrition options to support the nutritional needs of your herd. In addition, we are committed to providing you with digital tools that will help you manage your operation and with social media tools that allow us to share our combined story of how we care for our cattle, our land and our communities.